Review: The Voice of Yesteryear – Benchmarks 806839CD

2016-04-24_FEATURE

The Voice of Yesteryear Paul Derrett 1929 Harrison & Harrison, Halifax Minster, United Kingdom Total time: 74:02 Benchmark Recordings 806839CD ★★★★☆ Like the many wonderful British organs he records, organist Paul Derrett is something of a national treasure. Over many years he has been presenting a variety of recordings of both world famous and little known organs across the British Isles, intent on highlighting the wealth of musical excellence which abounds in sometimes very ordinary places…. Read more

Organ crawl – Our Lady Help of Christians, Rickmansworth

2016-04-18_FEATURE

The Slovenian organ building firm of Škrabl has taken the UK by storm, with a significant number of instruments installed in the last five or so years, including substantial new builds as well as creative re-imaginings and transformations of older instruments. The firm boasts some 70 employees, and includes a foundry to cast pipe metal – over 200 instruments have been built by Anton Škrabl and his team since the company’s founding in 1990. The… Read more

Review: Bach Sonatas – Lawo Classics LWC1087

2016-03-27_FEATURE

Bach Sonatas Kåre Nordstoga 1689 Arp Schnitger, Jacobikirche, Hamburg, Germany Total time: 63:00 66:22 Lawo Classics LWC1087 ★★★★☆ This double discs marks the fourth volume in Norwegian organist Kåre Nordstoga’s survey of the complete Bach organ works on the excellent Lawo Classics label. Like the previous volumes (double discs of the Schubler and Leipzig chorales, concerti and the Clavier-Ubung III) this new release uses a historic instrument, in this case the resplendent 1689 IV/60 Schnitger… Read more

Designing a dream!

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I wrote previously about the dream that many an organist has, to own a custom made house organ. My simple goal was to get a beautiful, coherent, honest instrument – something that would be what it was, without trying to do everything that larger instruments can of course manage. I was going to enjoy the “limitations” that such a small instrument would offer – having only a single manual, without pedals, upperwork and reeds, invites… Read more

Cantatas for two to play – Haarlem on video!

2016_01_28_FEATURE

The talented de Jong brothers have added another video of their superb four-hand arrangements of movements from Bach’s cantatas, this time with a performance of the aria Gott hat alles wohlgemacht (the fourth movement of Geist und Seele wird verwirret, BWV 35). This aria, originally for alto solo and organ accompaniment with basso continuo, exploits the quieter flutes of the III/62 Christiaan Müller instrument in the St Bavokerk, Haarlem (The Netherlands).  The joyful vocal line is played on… Read more

Organ crawl – Holy Angels Church, Cranford

2016_01_26_FEATURE

In my previous post about organ builder Peter Collins, I touched on his wonderful opus 4 instrument in Holy Angels Church, Cranford (UK). This was an organ that I played towards the end of my school days twenty or so years ago, with fond memories still attached to the couple of visits I made to the church. In making contact with the current Rector, Fr Michael Gill, about using images from the church’s website for… Read more

Recital: Dong-Ill Shin at St Albans

2016_01_17_FEATURE

Last night I attended my first organ recital for many, many years; a consequence of one of my few resolutions for the New Year. The venue for this momentous occasion was the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban in St Albans (UK), home to an organ made famous by the biennial St Albans International Organ Festival. The performer was Dong-Ill Shin, a hugely talented Korean organist who’s record of teachers and prizes heralded a… Read more

Review: Der Orgelkönig – Lawo Classics LWC1090

2016-01-13_FEATURE

Der Orgelkönig – Organ works by J.G.Schneider Halgeir Schiager 2009 Torkildsen Orgelbyggeri, Steinkjer Kirke, Norway Total time: 76:10 Lawo Classics LWC1090 ★★★☆☆ Johann Gottlob Schneider (1789-1864) comes from the period between Bach’s death and the mature works of Mendelssohn, which some would describe as an era of decline in the German organ art. Taught initially by his father (of the same name) Schneider subsequently served over the years as organist at Leipzig’s University Church, St Peter… Read more

Happy New Year!

2016-01-01_FEATURE

Well, its that time of a year when looking back and looking forward both seem appropriate! First of all, a small musical offering to celebrate the day, played on this beautiful 1703 Wender organ in the Bachkirche, Arnstadt, Germany.  It was reconstructed by Horst Hoffmann Orgelbaumeister and reconsecrated at the beginning of the Bach Year (the year 2000, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death).  Although just 320 out of a total 1252 pipes are original,… Read more

Dreaming of a house organ

2015-12-27_FEATURE

I suppose it is a common dream for organists the world over – to have your own organ, designed to your own specifications. I am lucky enough to have realised just such a dream, and in a series of posts I will relate the highs and lows that I’ve experienced in making this happen. This has a revitalised relevance for me as 2015 draws to a close…but you’ll need to read future articles to understand… Read more